The timing wasn't bad. With a smile on his face and in a smart blue jacket, Eintracht Frankfurt's CEO Axel Hellmann ended the management crisis and farewell speculation at VfB Stuttgart one day before the important semi-finals in the DFB Cup at VfB Stuttgart.
In the midst of the sporting crisis in Hesse, which would look completely different again with a win on Wednesday (8.45 p.m. / ARD and Sky), the 51-year-old will not switch to FC Bayern or to the DFL. Hellman stays.
Frankfurt wants to move into the cup final
"We're one day before the semi-finals, so we can then reach for the title," said Hellmann, skilfully shifting the focus to the sporting side. "It is clear and necessary that we tighten up in time and recognize this huge opportunity, as do the players."
Coach Oliver Glasner's team is currently coming from a negative series of nine league games without a win. "We can play as we want without a result in the Bundesliga," said Hellmann encouragingly. "In the end, when the light comes on and there's something in the room within reach, that doesn't count." And with the final victories in the DFB Cup in 2018 and the Europa League in 2022, Frankfurt proved that they can master all-or-nothing situations.
Hellmann doesn't really believe that the end of the leadership crisis will decisively strengthen this ability. "I have my doubts as to whether a possible unrest in personnel issues at management level will have an impact on sporting success," said the 51-year-old lawyer. "But even when we won titles, I always emphasized that this energetic bond inspires." Hellmann had belonged to the group of candidates for a permanent job as managing director of the German Football League. He assumed this role on an interim basis until the end of June.
Hellmann stays with the SGE
"It's time to end speculation and put a lid on a few things," Hellmann said. It is clear that as interim managing director of the DFL, you “belong to the group of candidates who are suitable for a permanent management position at the DFL”. With FC Bayern, with which Hellmann had been linked in media reports, there were not even talks “or a specific request” on this topic.
"Sadness is followed by euphoria," said head coach Oliver Glasner after the extremely poor performance against FC Augsburg (1-1) on Saturday and with a view to the cup duel in Stuttgart. With a success, the Austrian, who was counted after the long series of wins, could go into the final spurt of the season more relaxed.
Glasner: "The atmosphere in the team is good"
He reacted sensitively to questions about his future on the Main. "I don't think it's all that dramatic," said Glasner. "Two weeks ago it was said that I would go to Real Madrid or Chelsea FC, and now I had to answer whether I am afraid that I will remain the Frankfurt coach." That is incomprehensible. Eintracht is ninth in the league, which is not a "complete disaster". In addition, the round of 16 of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the cup have been reached: "For me it's actionist and populist. You want to see some victims there."
The coach has not lost his optimism, the cup final on June 3 in Berlin is still a step away, winning the cup would mean qualifying for the Europa League. "The mood in the team is very good. Maybe it was the cup gene." There are still players in the team who have experienced the DFB Cup victory in 2018 and the European Cup triumph in 2022. "It's imprinted in your heart. If you've experienced it, it's a bit addictive," said Glasner.
However, Frankfurt meets Stuttgart, who are on the upswing and also want to achieve something special after their changeable season with all their might. "It's a game we're really looking forward to," emphasized new coach Sebastian Hoeneß, who is unbeaten in five competitive games with Stuttgart. "It's a huge opportunity for us to set a highlight and go to Berlin."